Frontal EEG asymmetry in response to emotional vignettes in preschool age children

Jeffrey Pickens, Tiffany Field, Thomas Nawrocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


EEG recordings were conducted with preschool children during presentations of videotaped vignettes depicting a fictional young child experiencing happy, sad, angry, and fearful events. Significant EEG asymmetry in the frontal region (left frontal activation) occurred during all types of emotional vignettes, but not during baseline periods (a neutral star-field image presented before and after each vignette). This pattern of left frontal cortical activation during each emotional vignette may represent a generally positive and low intensity emotional "approach" response even in the case of the negative emotion vignettes. These children displayed mostly neutral facial expressions during the vignettes, with some evidence of lip movements during the negative episodes (suggesting that the stories were eliciting some mild emotional responses or empathy). There was no evidence of more intense emotional responses that have been associated with right frontal cortical activation. These EEG patterns may reflect cortical mechanisms underlying mild emotional responses and affective displays in preschool children, as well as their developing ability to regulate their affective systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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